The work culture in England

Hello everyone,

As an expatriate, working in England can present unique opportunities but also challenges. Discovering new communication styles, adapting to new cultural norms... working in England can be both exciting and confusing.

Share your experience to better understand the work culture in England and facilitate the professional adaptation of people who are wondering about it.

How would you define the work culture in England?

What was the most difficult thing for you when you started working?

What made the biggest impression on you?

How did you fit into your team?

Thank you for your contribution.

Mickael team

the work culture here varies, but i have noticed at most places i've worked at a certain real lack of efficiency, and many colleagues doing the bare minimum

not saying all uk companies are bad. they're not. just many that i worked for.

also, as an american expat, i was subjected to things like frequent mockery off colleagues (making fun of my nationality and my accent, and not in a nice way), exclusion, being blamed for things i didnt do, and more. that really hurt.

i've also been bullied by a supervisor for being proactive, because she didn't like it. she felt it was undermining her own lack of efficiency.

older customers will sometimes have an issue with you being "foreign". i worked in a contact centre and i had one older lady insist that she must be phoning a contact centre in God knows where, and i tried to reassure her that she was phoning a UK based business. but she didn't seem to buy it. i advised her to phone back and speak to a British born colleague. what else could i do. if people are going to be like that, pass them on lol.

I've also had a phone book thrown at me, hard, which left a bruise, thrown by one of the young bosses who blamed me for something i had nothing to do with. I quit after that happened. I never had anything thrown at me at any american company. this same boss also thought it was fine to strip down to nothing in a small office we shared, and at the time nobody else was in there. he thought it was fine to change his clothes in our small office, instead of using the men's toilets. creep.

communication is often poor compared to stateside. sometimes SIMPLE INSTRUCTIONS are not clear, and lead to confusion and mistakes. sometimes training is very poor. i also had some real resistance off some colleagues. in one case i asked the receptionist to please do something simple for me - i was in my right, rank wise, to ask this of her and i had been told by the bosses to ask her to do small jobs for me if i needed help, and she never did it. in another instance i asked another colleague for a targeted, filtered mailing list of customers who met certain criteria. i was very clear in what i wanted. what did he do? he gave me a list of the wrong customers, and mailers went out to them, wrongfully, we got loads of complaints off customers, and the boss blamed me. did this colleague do it on purpose? who knows. but i didnt trust anyone after that. he made me look stupid by having given me the wrong list.

at another job, when i started, i would always find someone put gum in my water bottle whenever i left my work area. they thought it was hilarious. and i had been nothing but nice to them, yet they still did this. yeah, mess with the yank, right? thanks, guys. made me feel really welcome.

finally, when it's your birthday, they dont celebrate it apart from maybe a card. you are expected to bring cake in yourself. i thought that was MISERABLE of them when i first came here, and i still do. i hate that, i really do. bring your own birthday cake. MISERIES!!!

there is also a lot more drinking going on after work. this is a drinking culture. you are expected to go out with people and have drinks now and then, or talk about how drunk you got over the weekend or talk incessantly about stupid shows like love island or strictly come dancing.

and most of them smoke, so if you dont smoke, and dont take smoke breaks with them, you're not part of the clique. they wont take lunch breaks, but they'll take a million cigarette breaks.

@danicali wow! what a post. Looks lke you suffered a lot of discrimination,  harassment,  bullying and you were even physically assaulted! OMG! Unbelievable that such things can happen in the work place in the UK.

Everything you describe is wrong apart from bringing your own cake for your birthday which is a British tradition.